Saturday, August 20, 2011

Canning: Short Brined Dill Pickles

I think I've always been intimidated by making my own dill pickles because of the time involved with the brining or the fermenting process. I chose this as my first dill pickle to experiment with. It's a short brine recipes so it takes 8-12 hours to stand.

This recipe makes a huge amount of pickles (8 quarts to 16 pints). I did only a half recipe since I'm trialing it out. You can also do just a quart at a time (you'll need about 1 1/2 lb. cucumbers). If you do just a quart, add 2 sliced garlic cloves, 4 peppercorns, 2 dill heads and a slit of hot pepper to each quart jar. Pack the cucumbers and pour a hot mixture of 1 cup each of vinegar and water with 1 1/2 tsp. sugar and 2 tsp. salt. Process in a hot water bath and store for a month before opening up your jar.

Some of my notes for this recipe:
- These pickles take a long time since you have to let them sit for 8-12 hours.
- After pouring the brine over the cucumbers and before sealing the jars, run a rubber spatula around the edges of the glass to release any air bubbles.
- If you like crispy pickles (like I do), I used a heaping 1/8 tsp. of Ball Pickle Crisp Granules to each pint jar before packing them. FYI: grape and/or sour cherry leaves are used to crisp up pickles.
- I always prepare (heat sterilize) 1 or 2 extra jars just in case the recipe makes more than you expect.
- You can adjust the taste of these pickles but DO NOT change the proportions of vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Try adding yellow mustard seeds (2 tsp. per quart), some grated or sliced horseradish, bay leaves or more hot peppers.
- I used dried japone and chipotle peppers. I used 1/2 pepper per pint but will see if this needs to be adjusted once I dig into the pickles. I did some with japone and some with chipotle peppers.

Short Brined Dill Pickles
From: "The Joy of Pickling" by Linda Ziedrich
Yield: 8 Quarts or 16 Pints

12 lb. pickling cucumbers, 3-5 inches long
1 1/2 c. pickling salt
2 gallons plus 2 quarts water
7 1/3 c. cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar (I used cider)
1/4 c. sugar
16 cloves garlic, sliced in half
32 whole black peppercorns (I increased this & used 1/2 tsp. per pint)
16-24 dill heads (1-2 per pint)
8 small dried hot peppers such as japones or de arbol, slit lengthwise (optional)
24-32 grape leaves or 48-64 sour cherry leaves (optional; I omitted these)

1) Wash cucumbers well. Trim blossom ends of the cucumbers and halve or quarter the cucumbers lengthwise (or leave whole). In a large bowl or crock, dissolve 3/4 c. pickling salt in 2 gallons of water (1 gallon = 16 cups). Add the cucumbers and weight them with a heavy plate that just fits inside the container (as you can see, vinegar bottles make good weights). Let them stand in the brine at room temperature for 8-12 hours.

2) Drain the cucumbers. If you like less salty pickles, rinse the cucumbers and drain them well again. (I rinsed them)

3) In a nonreactive pot, bring to a boil the remaining 3/4 c. pickling salt, the remaining 2 quarts of water (1 quart = 4 cups), the vinegar, and the sugar. While the mixture heats, divide the garlic and peppercorns among 8 quart or 16 pint mason jars. Pack the jars with the cucumbers, dill and hot peppers and grape or cherry leaves.

4) Pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with two-piece caps. In a boiling water bath, process pint jars for 10 minutes, quart jars for 15 minutes. Or pasteurize the jars for 30 minutes by immersing them in water heated to 180-185 degrees F.

5) Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry place for at least 1 month before eating the pickles. After opening a jar, store it in the refrigerator.


Ben Czajkowski said...

This is, more or less, the process my wife and I used to pickle my patio pickler cucumbers, this year. They turn out very well, in the end! I think that you'll be pleased :)

~Holly~ said...

ben: Hooray! I'm excited to try them. I made some with chilis for an extra kick!